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caudal fin is dark-brown, with several rows of white specks or blotches running across the rays. The anterior part of the dorsal is similar in color, but paler. Total length a trifle over an inch. A scale from the region mentioned by Mr. Putnam, is similar to that of Agassizii, but shows five or six concentric lines and three radiating furrows.
This specimen thus agrees with C. cornutus in position of eye and plan of markings; with C. agassizii in length of pectorals and structure of scales; is intermediate in length of head, and agrees with neither in the color of the caudal and dorsal fins and the tint of the middle band.-S. A. Forbes, Normal, III., Jan. 3, 1881.
THE JAPANESE LAP-DOG.–This species of Canide was characterized in the Proceedings of the Philadelphia Academy for 1879 (July), under the name of Dysodus pravus, and the diagnosis was based on four skulls and one skeleton. In the NATURALIST, for 1879, p. 655, appeared notes on three living specimens examined by the writer in San Francisco, which confirmed the characters previously ascribed to the genus and species. Subsequently I had the opportunity of examining eight additional specimens in San Francisco, of which three were born there, and two certainly and others are probably, Japanese born. The characters of these are as follows: No. 1. Premolars , molars }j; first premolar a minute cusp; two years old; Japan. No. 2. Premolars ; first and second superior minute. No. 3. Premolars ; first and second superior minute cusps; first inferior do.; nine
months old; American born.
From the above it can be seen that the absence of the first inferior premolar is constant, as is also, I may add, the absence of the last inferior true molar. In only three specimens was the first superior premolar present, and then as a cusp-like rudiment; and these are young dogs American born. The tooth is doubtless shed before maturity. Finally, even the poodle mixture did not restore the two lost inferior molars; and two superior molars are also missing, as in the typical Dysodus pravus. In all, the superior incisor teeth were present. Thus, though this species shows a remarkable tendency to shed the molar teeth with age, its normal dentition, when perfectly preserved, differs materially from that of the genus Canis.
This species has some marked peculiarities of habits. not appear to possess the senses of sight or smell in the same degree as the species of Canis. It cannot follow its master through a crowded street, and is readily lost, even on open ground where opportunities for sight are good. As house dogs they are cleanly, and intelligent in certain directions. They do
VOL. XV.-NO. III.
not learn tricks easily, but seem to understand the disposition and wishes of their master very readily. They are often very vivacious and energetic, and not at all indisposed to use their canine and flesh teeth on persons whom they do not especially regard. -E. D. Cope.
The EPIDEMIC AMONG MARINE FISHES.- In the year 1878 the pages of Forest and Stream, as also the Proceedings of the National Museum, contained notices of a remarkable mortality among the fishes and marine animals of the Gulf of Mexico, the quantity of fish perishing being something truly enormous. This year the same phenomenon is repeated and the Florida papers contain many notices on the subject.
It is considered a matter of so much importance that the National Board of Health has detailed Doctor Ginteras to visit the region and make a thorough investigation in regard to it.
Among the various communications that have reached the Smithsonian Institution, I inclose one of the most detailed, from an extremely intelligent observer, a resident on the west coast of Florida. At present the cause of the evil is unknown, but a careful comparison of the data, supplemented by the special investigations of the Board of Health, may enable us to solve the problem. The occasion is a very serious one to the fishermen, and indeed to the people of the Gulf coast generally, as a vast amount of animal life, cast in a putrifying condition on the shores, must be a source of injury to the public health.
It is desirable that any observations of facts connected with this phenomenon should be published.
SPENCER F. BAIRD, Commissioner. Statement of Mrs. Charles Hoy, of Little Manatee: “The fish began dying here about the first of November. About 8 o'clock on the evening of October 28, or thereabout, I was sitting on my front gallery, the air being perfectly still, and the bay calm, when I heard a heavy splashing of the water in the direction of Gadsden point. This continued for a few minutes, and was immediately followed by a roaring sound, such as might be made by the wheels of a side-wheel steamer near at hand, though the noise seemed to be several miles away. This continued for about a quarter of an hour, as near as I could guess, when it suddenly ceased. Some twenty-five or thirty minutes afterward, heavy swells began to come up the river, such as come in during a heavy blow from the north-west. These continued for a long time, gradually becoming lighter until I went to bed. In three days the fish began to come up the river dead and dying. I caught several mullet that were standing upright in the water sick, and each had three black spots on the back, which gradually faded away. I opened the fish, and could see nothing the matter with them. The flesh was natural and firm, and the gills were normal.
"In regard to oysters I have had a rather rough experience, and can with certainty say that they are poisonous. A few days after the fish began dying, I had a quart of fine oysters for dinner. I had a lady visitor on that day, but she did not like oysters, and ate none. My daughter and I ate heartily of them, and after dinner I took my gun and went out to a pond to shoot some ducks. I took a colored woman (my cook) along, and before I had gotten half way I began to feel weak, and a mist came before my eyes. I kept on, however, to the pond, and when I reached it, I was so blind I could not see the ducks, although the water was covered with them. With the assistance of the colored woman, I got home, when I found my daughter similarly affected, and unable to walk. Neither Mrs. Simms, the visitor, nor my cook were affected, which makes me know it was the oysters. The sickness and loss of vision gradually left us after drinking a cup of strong coffee. I am confident the death of the fish is caused by the discharge of poisonous gases from the bottom of the sea."--Forest and Stream.
CARACAS (Venezuela), November 12, 1880. The LAC INSECT.—In addition to Mr. J. M. Stillman's article on "The origin of the Lac,” (AMER. Nat., Nov. 1880, p. 782-787). I may be allowed to say that H. L. Carter published a rather full life-history of the Lac insect in the Annals and Magazine of Natural History, 1861. There exists also a special work, by J. E. O'Conor, under the title “ Lac; production, manufacture and trade,” a revised edition of which was printed in Calcutta in 1876, 8vo, pp. 83. It contains Carter's article in the appendix. Both confirm of course Mr. Stillman's observation that the lac is a secretion of the insect, and O'Conor mentions thirty-five trees on which it has been found. The best lac is said to be found on the Butea frondosa, Ficus religiosa and Schleichera trijuga.
I think Messrs. Trübner & Co., 57 and 59 Ludgate Hill, London, can furnish O'Conor's book, which is one of the official publications of the Indian government. In the number for September, 1880 (page 669) of the AMERICAN NATURALIST, my article on the fertilization of Cobæa penduliflora (published in Nature, Jurte 17, 1880), is mentioned; but with the curious addition, that it "confirms Bonnier's statement that the nectar is of no direct use to the plant.” Now Bonnier, as is well known, holds just the opposite opinion, whilst I certainly gave the case of the Cobæa as a relevant proof against the view he has lately tried to defend in the botanical part of the Annales des Sciences Naturelles.-A. Ernst.
DEEP-WATER FAUNA OF THE Swiss LAKES.—Dr. Asper gives a brief account of his investigations into the fauna of eleven of the Swiss lakes.
That of the Lake of Zurich would appear to be very rich. The Mollusca are represented by various genera, and those delicate Cyclads, the Pisidia, are always present. The larvæ of Diptera were
also numerous. Living in small tubes formed from the slime, they are either colorless or of an intense yellow or red color; they chiefly belong to the genera Chironomus and Tanypus. Acarida were nowhere completely absent. Vermes were richly represented, and chiefly by species of Lumbriculus and Scenuris. Of the latter genus great quantities were observed. There was also a colorless Hydra. In the Lake of Luzerne seventy specimens of what appears to be Asellus forelii were taken at one dredging. Here, again, Lumbriculids and Dipterous larvæ were very abundant. In the Lake of Sils (Engadine), to omit many points of interest in other lakes, the Hydroids appear to be especially remarkable. A new species is described and figured by the author under the name of Hydra rhætica. Of a bright red color, and often as much as 112 cm. in size, it gives indications of forming buds which remain permanently attached to it, and so give rise to a colony. The male and female individuals can be easily distinguished. The fauna of this lake was very rich in individuals, though comparatively poor in species. Four. R. Microscopic Society.
The Poison APPARATUS OF SPIDERS.—M. Jules MacLeod has recently published in the Belgian Archives de Biologie, the results of his studies on this subject. He finds that each of the venomous glands of spiders is formed of a pyriform sac, the walls of which, provided with a muscular layer, are lined within with an epithelium, the cavity of which serves as a reservoir of the poisonous fluid. From the anterior part of this sac proceeds a canal which opens at the end of the cheliceres, or jaws. The wall of this canal contains the same parts as the wall of the sac, but the muscular layer is there, however, either much less developed or absent. The secretory cells are cylindrical, arranged in a single layer. These cells present a different aspect according to their state of repose or activity; they pass from the state of ordinary cylindrical cells (repose ?) to that of cup-shaped cells (activity ?) by a series of states of passage. In certain species there are only cup-shaped cells (Tegenaria), of which the cup, much elongated, plays the role of excretory canal.
This last form approaches the typical unicellular glands; consequently the glands whose cells presents this disposition are, properly speaking, compound glands (Tegenaria).
DEEP DREDGINGS IN THE LAKE OF TIBERIAS.—The invertebrata obtained by M. Lortet in these dredgings include ten species of Mollusca, of which three are new to science. These are named by M. Locard, Unio lorteti
, U. pietri, U. maris galilæi. The other species are Unio terminalis and tigridis, Cyrena fluminalis, Neritina jordani, Melania tuberculata, Melanopsis præmorsa and costata. The three latter shells give the fauna a marine appearance; and it is to be considered as a transition fauna between salt and fresh water, the lake having probably been originally salt, and subsequently altered by the passage of the Jordan waters through it. Near the shore were found a small shrimp, and the crab, Telphusa fluviatilis. A very fine volcanic mud from the greatest depths contained diatoms, foraminifera, &c. No alga was brought up.
The Unio shells at the depth of 250 metres were curiously softened and resembled in condition the fossils of some of the Tertiary strata of the middle of France; this is probably chiefly due to pressure.
FRESH-WATER Microscopic ORGANISMS.—Prof. Maggi has published a catalogue of the Rotifera of Volconia, containing fourteen genera and eighteen species. He also gives a list of the freshwater Rhizopoda of Lombardy, and has come to the conclusion that Amphizonella flava is not identical with Pseudochlamys patella, but that it is a developmental stage of some unknown form. He has investigated the plastids found in ciliated Infusoria, and especially those which are found in the nuclei of the Oxytricha. When these organisms are treated with a two per cent. solution of bichromate of potash, dark granulations are to be observed in the parenchyma of the body, and a black reticulum is also to be made out in the nuclei.
ZOOLOGICAL NOTES.--The classification of the order of Discomedusæ (Discophora), of which the common Aurelia is the type, has been discussed by Haeckel in a preliminary way in the Proceedings of the Society of Medicine and Science of Jena. He divides the group into three sub-orders. He regards as the stem or ancestral genus of the order, Ephyra, a form similar to the larval Ephyra (Ephyrula) through which most of the species of the group pass. It will be seen from this that Haeckel does not regard the Trachynemidæ or the Lucernariæ as forming suborders of the Discophora, but independent orders. The discovery of a large number of new forms has led him to propose this new classification of the order. Some points in the structure of the herring are discussed by Professor Moebius in the reports of the commission for the scientific exploration of the German seas, comprising figures illustrating the external and internal anatomy of this fish, and its crustaceous food, as well as the appearance of the fish at different ages; and a comparison of the herring with the spratt. He also gives a figure of a young flounder, and notes on the food of fishes and their mode of reproduction. —An elaborate work by Dr. R. Latzel, favorably noticed in Nature, on the Myriopods of Austria, is being issued in parts at Vienna; the first part comprises the Chilopoda; we notice that the author adopts Mr. Ryder's new order Symphyla for the synthetic form Scolopendrella. Professor Huxley lately read a paper before the Zoological Society of London, on the application of the laws of evolution to the arrangement of the vertebrates and more particularly of the mammalia.- In a paper read by M. Viallanes, before the French Academy, on the sensitive nerve-termination in the skin of some insects, especially the larvæ of the common